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PREVIEW – Senate Panel To Discuss Off-Shore Wind Farms On Monday

Committee Will Also Look at Bills Focusing on Energy Efficiency, Energy Cost Savings

BRICK – The Senate Economic Growth Committee will meet on Monday in the Township of Brick Municipal Building to discuss the future of off-shore wind farms in New Jersey, and vote on two bills which promote energy efficiency and cost savings for hard-hit energy consumers.

“Wind farms, as part of our State’s diversified energy portfolio, could generate cleaner energy and create hundreds, if not thousands of new green-collar jobs,” said Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, D-Union, the Chair of the Committee. “With the price of oil and other energy sources still high, we need to give very serious thought to alternative energy.”

According to Senator Lesniak, wind power has had a controversial history in New Jersey. While many environmental advocates believe off-shore wind turbines offer a renewable, environmentally-friendly alternative energy source, Shore residents have been nervous that turbines off the coast might interfere with their way of life, and the tourism economy which depends heavily on New Jersey’s beaches, he said. However, as fuel costs and energy prices remain high, the lawmaker said that New Jersey has an obligation to keep all options on the table.

“We need to do something to help hard-hit homeowners in New Jersey feel some relief from high energy costs,” added Senator Lesniak. “If wind farms can be achieved with minimal impact to the Shore communities, then we need to make the investment. It would benefit our environment as well as our wallets.”

The Committee will also vote on two bills to help find energy savings and promote energy efficiency. S-702, sponsored by Senator Bob Smith, D-Middlesex and the Senate Environment Committee Chair, would authorize the State to begin considering energy efficiency in the State’s Uniform Construction Code, and would offer down-payment assistance to home buyers purchasing enhanced energy efficient homes. The second bill, S-1932, sponsored by Economic Growth Committee member, Senator Teresa Ruiz, D-Essex and Union, would allow the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to use the revenue from the retail margin surcharge on the energy bills of large industrial and commercial users to invest in energy savings for those energy consumers, including combined heat and power, energy efficiency and demand response projects.

“As technology progresses, our energy providers need to adopt cleaner, greener and less costly business models,” said Senator Lesniak. “We need to make the most of our current energy resources through enhanced energy efficiency, and we need to continue to explore ways to bring down the expenses of corporate energy consumers. These bills put us on the right track, and I commend the bill sponsors for doing the right thing for our environmental and economic well-being.”

The hearing will take place on Monday, September 15 at 10:30 AM in Brick Township’s Municipal Building, 401 Chambersbridge Rd., Brick Township, NJ.

WHO: Senate Economic Growth Committee

WHAT: Hearing on Wind Farms, Energy Efficiency, and Energy Cost Savings

WHEN: Monday, September 15 at 10:30 AM

WHERE: Brick Township Municipal Building, 401 Chambersbridge Rd., Brick Township